The Jason Pitkin incident:
Nearly a decade passed after the small Upstate town of Liberty New York was shaken from a tragedy in the otherwise peaceful town. Almost all had been forgotten, and those who were uninvolved had their minds on their own life.
Jason Pitkin was a small, scrawny young man. He was pimple-faced and pale skinned. His glasses were thick, wire-rimmed frames, which were too big for his small bony face. His dark brown eyebrows were thick with a small patch of hair between the right and left side to unify them into one long eyebrow across his forehead.
Jason was unusually thin. His skin looked pasty and sweaty. His hair was unkempt and slovenly messed in greasy looking strands because he lacked the motivation to care for himself. He dressed poorly with old clunky brown shoes and corduroy pants with broken threads frayed at the bottom hem. He wore oversized and outdated hand-me-down shirts that came from his drunk and abusive father.
Jason was not well liked in school. He was abused not only at home but also by his classmates. Jason was teased around town, however, none of Jason’s classmates ever dared to follow him home. The stories of Ivan, Jason’s father, were well known.
Ivan was a mean and angry drunk. He had been unemployed for several years and living on government assistance. Ivan’s face was scarred with pock marks across his cheeks and his large, bulb-like nose. His long fingernails were filthy and yellow with dirt packed along the curve of the cuticles. Ivan’s hands were dry with crackled skin and his thumb, pointer, and middle finger were stained with the nicotine from smoking unfiltered cigarettes.
Ivan’s wife Alice died when Jason was only a small boy. Perhaps if Alice survived, Ivan and Jason would have been better with each other. Instead, Ivan blamed his son Jason for the tragic loss. Alice was healthy before Jason was born. Ivan was healthy too.
He seldom drank, but when he did, Ivan drank responsibly. Before his wife’s passing, Ivan was respected in the town. He was employed at a saw mill in the town of Beaverkill. Ivan never lost his temper. He never drove drunk or raised his hand in anger. After his wife passed, Ivan changed.
Alice was a young woman. She had red hair with natural blonde highlights. Alice spoke softly and she was very loving. She was very much the glue to that home. All that remained of Alice were the pictures Ivan hung on the bedroom wall in their rundown, doublewide trailer.
Aside from his problems at home, Jason never did well in school. He was learning disabled; however, his disabilities were never properly diagnosed. He was called lazy. Jason was called stupid, both at home, and by the other students in school.
He never played with other friends. As he aged, Jason grew more awkward. His arms were long. His legs were knock-kneed, with thin calves and weak thighs. He had long fingers with scattered warts across his hand. Jason had no true friends and fewer reasons to go to class or socialize with anyone. After the final bell at school, Jason walked with the only person that spoke kindly to him.
Angie was a year older than Jason. She was left behind to repeat her junior year. Angie was not overly pretty or convincingly ugly. She was taller than most teenage girls. Her body developed quickly, which left Angie with the figure of an adult woman, but with the clunky mannerisms of a young girl that was unaware of her physical equipment.
Angie was kind-hearted; only, she was too eager to be accepted. She was so eager that Jimmy Hagen convinced Angie to walk home with him to see the horse’s in the barn behind Jimmy’s house.
Jimmy was popular and handsome. He was not only an athlete; Jimmy was known as the best athlete in the town of Liberty. Jimmy was also a bully.
Angie walked home with Jimmy. She believed that she was following a boy with the best of intentions. She had no idea that once in the barn, an anxious, hormone driven, 17 year-old Jimmy Hagen would force himself, refusing to let Angie leave until she agreed to at least satisfy little Jimmy with a spit-soaked hand job.
Angie gave in to Jimmy. Perhaps, she felt wanted or assumed this meant the two would see each other more often. Needless to say, the event flooded the rumor factory at school. The following day, Angie who was not specifically popular or unpopular, found herself in the painful gears of the gossip machine. She was laughed at and teased. She was also bullied by Tabatha Evergreen, the head cheerleader, and recent ex-girlfriend to Jimmy Hagen.
After being plagued by insults, teased, and called whore, Angie lost the sparkle that twinkled in her eye. She became needy. She allowed herself to be used because to Angie, being used seemed better than being alone and ridiculed.
Jason loved Angie. He loved her with all he had. He tried to tell Angie, but she would never date him.
“You’re my friend,” she would say.
“I don’t have too many of them and I don’t want to lose the one good friend I have.”
Jason loved her. She was tall with almond color hair. Her face was somewhat narrow and her amber colored eyes were mixed with chips of green. To Jason, she was the only good source of life.
Angie loved Jason as well. Except, Angie was too desperate to belong. She wanted to fit in and be part of the better crowd. Angie wanted to be a part of the inner circle. Jason, on the other hand, would never fit in the inner circle. He was too odd looking. He was weak. He was too poor and socially awkward. There were too many stories about Jason, his father Ivan, and their rundown trailer that looked as if it should be condemned.
Jason’s left ear was scarred one night after his father came home drunk. Ivan walked home from the nearest bar, which was accurately titled, “The Wrong Hole Inn.”
Jason stepped into the wrong room at the wrong time. After setting the stove to heat a pot of coffee, Ivan turned to find Jason standing in the kitchen doorway. He was holding an empty whisky bottle that he picked up from the floor.
For whatever reason, this triggered an outrage. Ivan snapped. He reached at Jason’s neck. Ivan gripped tightly, squeezing both hands around the bony looking Adam’s-apple on Jason’s throat.
“I’m gonna kill you—you little son of a bitch!” slurred Ivan.
The stench of whiskey and spit flew from Ivan’s mouth as he pushed his only son against the old refrigerator. Jason’s back landed against the fridge so hard that the trailer bounced. A dangling lightbulb hung and swayed from the broken light fixture in the center of the dirty kitchen. After the thud of Jason’s back slammed against the refrigerator door, the light bulb shook. One of the many plates in the sink, slid from its spot on the pile, and crashed onto the chipped linoleum floor.
Ivan spun Jason around. He intended to force Jason through the side door where Ivan would then throw Jason to the ground, pounding his son with punches to the face, and punctuating the end with a few final kicks to the rib.
Instead, Jason attempted to resist and free himself. Jason repeatedly slapped the sides of Ivan’s arms to stop the choke and loosen his father’s grip. He was unable to breathe. Jason fought harder. He tried to remove Ivan’s hands away from his gangly neck.
“I’m gonna kill you,” Ivan screamed while attempting to throw Jason through the screen door. But Ivan missed a step. He tripped and Jason flew across the kitchen, landing at the stove where Ivan proceeded to press Jason’s face against the gas flame and hot grill.
Jason was never able to grow hair above his ear again. The left side of his face was scarred terribly, making his appearance worse, and harder to overcome.
The next day, Jason walked to school. His hair was terribly singed and his face was burnt.Jimmy Hagen was the first to see Jason.
“What the hell happened to you?” asked Jimmy with a laugh.
“Did that drunken old man of yours try to kill you again?”
Jason did not answer back because he could not answer. Angie was nowhere to be found. He did not see her at the spot where they usually met before walking to school. There was no warmth for Jason and one he could speak to. He was finished with this place. In a word, Jason was through.
Doubling back, the young boy ran through town to sneak in to his own house.
“I know how to fix this,” Jason thought to himself.
Running home, Jason passed Camille and Jack Corrigan stepping out from the doorway of The McCann Funeral Home.
Camille called out, “Jason!” in a heartbroken voice to stop him from running any further.
Jason paused. He saw Camille weeping with her husband Jack by her side. Jason looked up to notice they were leaving the funeral home.
“What happened?” asked Jason.
Camille reached out and placed her hand on the boy’s shoulder. A frightened teardrop bubbled in the corner of the Jason’s eyes. Camille was wrapped in a black coat. The cold February wind shook the woman’s graying hair. Jack could not look up. He could not look at the one boy who truthfully loved his daughter.
“Angela is gone, sweetheart.”
“What do you mean she’s gone,” asked Jason.
Camille began to weep.
“Angela hung herself last night after she hung up the phone with someone from school.”
Jason knew who the phone call was from.
He knew it was Jimmy.
Jack Corrigan looked at Jason to try and ease the boy’s pain. Noticing the burns and swelling on Jason’s face, Jack inquired, “Good God, son. What the hell happened to you?”
Jason could not speak. The loss of his true love and the loss of his only source of kindness was gone. Similar to Ivan when he suffered the loss of his wife, Jason Snapped. There was nothing left and no one he could turn to. Detached and heartbroken, the boy shut down.
“I gotta go,” said Jason.
Instead of running, Jason walked away. He walked into his home without shedding a tear. He refused to cry or give way. Jason kept his emotion bottled tightly. Upon entry, Jason quietly walked through the side door to find his father drunk in a chair at the kitchen table.
Ivan was hardly conscious. His eyes were nearly closed and his mouth drooled with vomit. Ivan mumbled to himself. Then he noticed his son walked through the kitchen.
Jason walked to the rear of the trailer and then returned to the front entryway of the kitchen. He stood in the doorway with the flood of rage haunting his face like the glare of a madman.
Ivan grumbled, “What the hell are you looking at you ugly son of a bitch?”
The buttons were mismatched on Ivan’s red and black, flannel button-down shirt. His dirty white undershirt was stained with driblets of puke
Ivan barked, “Well? Are you gonna just stand there, or are you gonna do something you sorry little son of a bitch?”
As quick as Jason could blink, he raised the shotgun upwards and pulled the trigger. The blast was loud and the spraying pellets shredded through Ivan’s mid-section. A droplet of blood began to pool at the corner of Ivan’s mouth as his eyes opened wide with the astonished realization that he was about to die.
Several hours later, Jason walked up to the police station. There was blood all over his hands, face, and clothes. He was carrying a canvas bag with him. Jason’s eyes detached from emotion. He no longer looked scared or pitiful.
He walked into the precinct with the canvas bag over his shoulder. Approaching the sheriff, Jason spoke calmly.
“I come to give myself in,” said Jason
The sheriff knew Jason very well. He knew Jason’s father was a drunk. The Sheriff also knew the boys that bullied Jason at school. The sheriff was an important man in the town. His family was well liked and his son was known as the best athlete in the great town of Liberty. Sheriff Lawrence Hagen knew all about Angie. He knew about his son Jimmy and the hand job in the barn.
Looking curiously at Jason, Sheriff Hagen asked, “Jesus, son. How’d you get all that blood on you?”
Jason responded, “From this,” as he pulled Jimmy Hagen’s head from the duffle bag by the hair and slammed it down on the sheriff’s desk.
Jimmy’s blonde hair was greased with dark red clumps of coagulated blood. His eyelids were half-opened with the color of his eyes glossed over in a deadly layer of fogged white. Jimmy’s once fair skin was now blue and lifeless.
With blood spattered and streaked all over his face, Jason looked at the horrified sheriff.
“I don’t wanna live here anymore,” said the Jason.
“I want to go someplace else . . .”